- Peace for Shawn and I, for Kyle and Miranda and Braden and Connor, for our parents and siblings and nieces and nephews and inner circle friends watching and hurting as we go through this
- that God would keep soft our children's hearts toward Him through all the emotions of this hard journey
- strength and stamina; physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually
- that the cancer shrinks to gone, gone, gone!
- gentle side effects to this second round of chemo
- family unity, harmony, love, strength, joy, happiness
- anything else you feel God puts on your heart

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Graveside Service

The Lord gives STRENGTH to His people;
The Lord blesses His people with PEACE
:: Psalm 29:11 ::
On Friday February 14th at 11:00 am, our family and a few of Kristin's special friends gathered together at the graveside to commit Kristin's body to the earth.  We were told to expect rain, but we were blessed with a dry day and even some beautiful sunshine. A reminder of God's love when we were hurting so deeply. 
Dave Jones :: Brother in Law
Roger Unrau :: Brother in Law
Ryan Erickson :: Brother in Law
Ryan Epp :: Cousin
Aaron Peters :: Cousin
Derek Weiss :: Cousin
 Pastor Jim Lucas shared a special story about Kristin that had us all grinning from ear to ear.  He shared a sermon that he had preached one Sunday morning, and during his sermon he explained that he only hugs family due to society's fear of inappropriate touching.  After the sermon, Kristin approached him and gave him a GIANT KRISTIN HUG and then said to him, 'I guess we're family now'!  When Kristin hugged, she was the person who determined when it was time to let go. She held on tight and didn't let go until she was good and ready. 
   Pastor Jim spoke of how the BEST of Kristin has left her body. What we loved most about her, and what made her so unique, had already gone on to Heaven.  She would no longer need her broken body, and he assured us that she would be made new and we would see her again!  
 Kristin's four children, her three nieces, and two nephews all wrote her beautiful Valentine's messages on purple hearts. After the pastor's message, the kids all approached Kristin's beautiful blue casket and tucked their love letters under the flowers.  Kristin loved holidays, and it was a beautiful way for the kids to all express their love for her while honoring Valentine's Day ~a day of LOVE.

 Shawn and the kids all took turns pulling a beautiful pink rose from the flowers on the casket.
 And then the rest of our immediate family followed.
The rain held off and her beautiful brocade casket mimicked the blue sky peaking out from the clouds above us. She said she wanted cream but they don't make that one anymore. We weren't too worried about that, we knew she loved color...lots and lots of color!
Kristin loved her Mother in law, and was thrilled that she had done the flower arrangements for her wedding. I'm sure she would have been so proud that the beautiful arrangements at both the graveside and church services, were also made by Wiffy with love. 
After prayers, hugs, tears, and of course a few pictures, we left the cemetery with broken hearts.
Come to Me all who are WEARY
and I will give you 
:: Matthew 11:28 ::

Sunday, March 9, 2014

One month ago...

It has been one month since Kristin's passing and I felt it appropriate to stop and reflect.  So much has happened, so much has changed.  Change is often not easy, particularly when it is not our choice.  So many thoughts and questions are faced daily yet as our family changes some of the ways we do things, we find it difficult but also understand that new opportunities learn, to collaborate, to share and to grow closer.   Our present state stills sees us relying on what I will call "the three F's" - our faith, our family and our friends.  I am daily overwhelmed by the outpouring of love shown to us.  
So, how are we doing now, you might ask?  I am pleased to say we are doing reasonably well as we transition into our "new normal".  This last month has certainly had it's ups and downs, and we continue to take things one day at a time.  For this blog post, I'll share a few positive points as they relate to our kids.  

Connor has adjusted back to school and gets excited to play ball hockey at recess.  The other day he stated that he scored a "natural hat trick" and was very excited about that!  Braden is also doing well in school.  In fact this last week report cards came out and he made the honour role!  I was so proud to watch him get his award at the school assembly on Friday.  Miranda is part of an after school program called Destination Imagination where kids work in teams to learn and experience creativity, teamwork and problem solving.  Yesterday at the middle school challenge her team came in second place.  Way to go Miranda (and team)!  And last but not least, Kyle's soccer team played for the district championship and I am pleased to say that today they won! 

Over this last month, I have somewhat struggled to know how best to thank everyone for their kind words, prayers and generosity.  I have sent some cards, emails, texts, made phone calls, yet I know I have not reached everyone.  As a result, I am hopeful that this blog post will reach many more.  So to everyone, from Connor,  Braden, Miranda, Kyle and Shawn, we say "thank you".  Thank you for all you have done for us and continue to do for us.  While I won't capture it all, thank you for bringing us meals, for praying, for reaching out, for listening, for donating, for being there... I also have a long list of people who have offered assistance in any way, at any time - to you we say "thank you" as well.  Lastly, I continue to be asked "what do you need" or "what can we do for you"?  My answer is "pray".  Pray for our physical, emotional and spiritual health.
Going forward I plan to contribute to Kristin's blog to share her and our stories, keep people informed of how we're doing and perhaps also share some self reflective thoughts and perspectives.  I will not try to fill Kristin's shoes.  She had a gift; a gift to share her thoughts and to care and counsel others.  I hope that as you follow the blog, you will find it interesting, informative and of value to your journey.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Daddy's Heart

"I will never leave you or forsake you!"

That is Gods promise to us all, if we trust Him. And we have felt the prayers of all our friends carry us through each moment , and felt we were never alone. Fact is, I know it won't be that long until Kristin meets me at those pearly gates, although I am in no hurry, nor do I want to leave the rest of my family and friends, the reality is, I will come to that time, sooner than many of you,that I also will pass away. The only guarantee we have in this world, is death.
After Kristin left us, our hearts were so torn, so ripped apart. My human expression of tears, never fixed my feeling of the vacuum inside. The friends and relatives loving on me through this time, has cushioned the hurt, yet many times each day, and in the middle of the night, the tears just flow without warning. It is so hard to be up, feel like talking, and for me that is totally out of character, and difficult to find the ability to focus on anything for very long. To watch TV, Olympics or anything, just has no importance, nor gives me much satisfaction. A bit like living in a fog and unable to assert your mind.
My thoughts go to the past 15 months, the hard days, but more and more, the good times and memories. And most important, my family, Shawn, my other daughters and husbands, and the nine grandkids, all trying to handle their emotional roller coaster, keep me trying to look ahead, something we have been unable to do in this past. Many lessons of life we have learned with Kris, continue to push us to be better, more caring, and most important, keep from being too busy, yet staying focused on each other, family, friends and strangers we bump into along our journey. 
Yes, all our days are numbered, but while we are here, each of us can choose to help make a positive difference to all we come in contact with and those we go out of our way to help.
Thank You, to all of you, that took time from your busy lives, to pray for, comfort, feed, give in so many ways, just to love on us in your own special way, we are, and feel soooo blessed by you all, and we as a family, have been praying all along this journey, that God would bless each of you in return.
Love Kristin's dad

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Video Tribute

Kristin absolutely loved taking pictures and capturing everyday moments.  
Her home is filled with pictures, scrapbooks, and photo albums! She didn't tuck them away, she left them out in the open and encouraged friends and family to flip through them when they visited.  
We knew we couldn't fit her entire passion for life into two short songs, 
but here are some of our favorites!

Thank you Roger for spending hours of your time and energy making this video.  
The songs chosen were very special to us,  please listen carefully to the words...

The 1st song:
 Never Once by Matt Redman, 
is truly the anthem of Kristin's Journey.  

The 2nd song:
 was chosen by Kristin's dad.

For a clearer, larger video click link below

Special Song ~Brett Ashton & Sandra Ashton

We had the privilege of traveling to Calgary to visit our 'Alberta family' in July. It was very important to Kristin that her mom and sisters joined her on a road trip. We shared lots of laughs and a few tears too. Kristin couldn't wait to take us to her favorite restaurant CHARCUT. Our cousin Brody works there and she was so excited to show off his passion. Sadly, we didn't make it to the restaurant, but in its place we saw God's creations as we took an unexpected detour through Jasper.

We had a fantastic visit with Brody & Sandra and their handsome new son, our Auntie Bev & Uncle Brian, and cousins Brett & Kristen and their two beautiful kids. It was really hard to say goodbye.

Silent tears rolled down Kristin's cheeks as we drove home. We knew what she was thinking; she had just given her last hugs and 'I love you's' to these people that she was so proud to be related to.

If you knew Kristin, it would come as no surprise that she would have no qualms about asking our musical cousins to take part in her special day.  

Thank you Brett and Sandra for blessing us with your gift of music. You are both so incredibly special, and we know Kristin wouldn't have wanted anyone else to deliver this tender message.   

'His Strength is Perfect'
Sung by Cousins Brett  Ashton and Sandra Ashton

I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
But sometimes I wonder what He can do through me
No great success to show
No glory on my own
Yet in my weakness He is there to let me know

His strength is perfect when our strength is gone
He'll carry us when we can't carry on
Raised in His power, the weak become strong
His strength is perfect, His strength is perfect

We can only know
The power that He holds
When we truly see how deep our weakness goes
His strength in us begins
Where ours comes to an end
He hears our humble cry and proves again

His strength is perfect when our strength is gone
He'll carry us when we can't carry on
Raised in His power, the weak become strong
His strength is perfect, His strength is perfect

Kristin showed enormous strength through her entire life, but especially through her cancer journey.  Her strength was supernatural at times.  When we look back at all the things she did while suffering the effects of surgery, radiation, and chemo, we see that God's strength carried her when she couldn't carry on.  We know He will do the same for us, His Strength Is Perfect

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Special Words: Youngest & Oldest

The children were given the chance to speak about their mom at the funeral. They could write down a few things to say on their own, or have their words read by Kristin's cousin Rena.  Two chose to keep their words and thoughts private, and two chose to share. Kristin and Shawn have raised four incredibly brave children and we are all so proud of them!

Read by Kristin's Cousin Rena
Words from Connor (7)

Mom danced with me. 
Me and mom went to Starbucks. 
I love mom. 
Mom filled me up with love. 
Mom gave me peace. 
Mom coloured with me. 
I wish mom did not have cancer. 
If you ask God about something in your prayer, 
He will answer.

Words from Kyle (15)

Roses are red
Violets are blue
You passed away
believe me you,
left a lasting impression
with all of your love
and your passion, your
vision and your love. 
Lest we forget the
hero of many lives
and our family, Mother, 
daughter, wife, friend, cousin, 
leader, role model, love, 
cousin, that person who
impacted so many lives, 
I love you mom. 
Roses are red
violets are blue
I love you because
you saw me through. 
not to the end, but
where it mattered
you went on
but we stayed
with our thoughts
and our hearts.
Manafest once told me to live on, 
not to hold on,
but hold on, and
be strong. 
These are words to 
live by now.
As much as you might
question how
it's not hard, 
when you have the
memories that I have
to live on. 
Bye Mom, 
Love you,